Friday, December 21, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

Finished the Tontine, and discovered when I opened it there is another book somewhere, for this one begins on Chapter 10! Don't know if it's in another box somewhere, or if I'll have to look it up. The book was good; just made me want to read the first 9 chapters...think of it this way: Reading Gone with the Wind, only beginning at the Reconstruction after the war...
E-book: Am starting Swift of Heart, by Janet Davies today!

Christmas 1977. The year of the blizzard. We had our traditional Christmas morning; opening our stockings hanging above our brand-new fireplace; consuming Ding-Dongs as we opened up tiny gifts. The area above the mantle was still bare; the paneling hadn't been placed around the chimmney yet. My mom had strung garland through the wall studs and draped it quite nicely around the silver chimmney and the bare mantle.

Our Christmas tree was in the living room, so it was our next destination. Mom and Dad sat on the couch as my sister and I pulled presents from beneath the tree, reading the labels and tossing them to whoever's name was on the gift. We had to be careful of the tree that year, because earlier in the week, the wind had shook the house so badly our front door had been blown open and the tree had fallen over. Dad had put a nail in the wall behind the tree and anchored the tree to it, but he wasn't happy with his makeshift plan and was already thinking of improvements.

After all the presents had been unwrapped, the paper thrown away, and whatever breakfast had been consumed, it was time to get dressed and leave for Grandma's house.

We started on the hour-long drive, and about forty minutes later, it became apparent there was something wrong with the car. Dad was able to baby it into the truckstop in Zionsville, and my sister and I were sent into the restaurant to get something to drink while Mom and Dad discussed their options.

A gentleman noticed my dad checking under the hood and offered his assistance. Soon, my mother joined us to thaw out her own cold body and told us Dad would have to leave the car there and fix it in the morning, when he could have his tools with him. She called my grandmother and explained why we were delayed.

The same gentleman who had helped my father figure out what was wrong happened to be traveling in the same general direction as us and offered to take us the rest of the way. So after another telephone call, we loaded up the bags of gifts into his truck and he generously drove us to Indianapolis.

That night, my grandmother gave us her car to drive back to Lafayette, and the following day, we set off for the truck stop again.

My sister and I had a wonderful time, drinking hot chocolate, wandering through the toy displays, and playing some of the arcade games. We talked to several patrons, and I remember running out of quarters and another gentleman fishing several out of his pocket so my sister and I could continue playing pinball.

When Dad finally had the car running again, he came inside for a sandwich and Mom told my sister and I we could choose one of the beautiful dolls to take home. To this day, mine still stands in my old bedroom, her long pink dress a little dusty, her golden ringlets still draped prettily over her right shoulder.

And a month later, the Blizzard of '78 struck, and we spent many happy snow days playing in the drifts which had reached the top of our roof; covered the cars; and created the two snow forts complete with tunnels.

So if anyone is traveling this weekend, be safe, be careful, and if you happen to stop anywhere along the way and see another family in distress, remember you could be the angel sent to help this holiday season.


Molly Daniels said...

Dad just told me the wheel bearing went out on one of the front tires...

Molly Daniels said...

Boy I'm generating a lot of comments...must be the holidays:)